Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Trolls and Tribulations 2: Diplomacy

Text: S.D. Hilderbrand
Image: Jason Maggitti and S.D. Hilderbrand

Monday, March 30, 2009

Whisk o'Way

This ornate whisk appears as a typical kitchen implement, unless carefully studied by an onlooker. When properly used, this item imbues the resulting food with natural wayfinding abilities, improving travel for those who consume it.

For 8 hours after consuming a meal prepared with a whisk o'way, creatures receive a +5 on all tracking and direction-finding checks. They are also compelled to travel, which assists in all Will saves along the journey within the same 8 hour duration.

Price: 300gp; CL3, Create Wondrous Item, direction sense.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Horn of the Unicorn

This musical instrument is a unique artifact, carved from the horn of Byzozius, the ancient unicorn of the clouds, by the master hornmaker, Halupin. The Horn of the Unicorn grants its good-aligned wielder resistance to sonic effects. In addition, the horn emanates a 15' magic circle against evil as the spell.

Those who play the instrument with a DC 20 perform check deal 5d6 points of sonic damage to all creatures within a 60' cone in the direction of its playing. All evil creatures creatures within earshot receive an additional 2d6 points of sonic damage, including those within the 60' cone.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Kurdt Menstan

Leader of the garrison at Rido Savo in the steep cliffs at the north edge of the Southern Reaches that sprawl across the southeast quadrant of Farghoal. Gruff. Intimidating. The perfect NPC for a DM who likes role playing in deep voices.

Kurdt Menstan
Medium-size Male Human
Fighter 15
Hit Dice: (15d10)+45
Hit Points: 153
Initiative: +6
Speed: Walk 20 ft.
AC: 24 (flatfooted 24, touch 13)
Attacks: *"Crash" Greatsword +4 (Thundering) +25/+20/+15;
Damage: *"Crash" Greatsword +4 (Thundering) 2d6+14;
Face / Reach: 5 ft. / 5 ft.
Special Qualities:
Saves: Fortitude: +12, Reflex: +7, Will: +7
Abilities: Str 19, Dex 14, Con 16, Int 11, Wis 14, Cha 18
Skills: Appraise 0; Balance -4; Bluff 4; Climb 0; Concentration 3; Craft (Armorsmithing) 1; Craft (Untrained) 0; Diplomacy 4; Disguise 4; Escape Artist -4; Forgery 0; Gather Information 4; Handle Animal 15; Heal 2; Hide -4; Intimidate 22; Jump -4; Listen 2; Move Silently -4; Ride 16; Search 0; Sense Motive 3; Spot 2; Survival 2; Swim -7;
Feats: Armor Proficiency (Heavy), Armor Proficiency (Light), Armor Proficiency (Medium), Cleave, Combat Reflexes, Greater Weapon Focus (Greatsword), Greater Weapon Specialization (Greatsword), Hold the Line, Improved Critical (Greatsword), Improved Initiative, Improved Shield Bash, Leadership, Martial Weapon Proficiency, Mounted Combat, Power Attack, Ride-By Attack, Shield Proficiency, Simple Weapon Proficiency, Tower Shield Proficiency, Trample, Weapon Focus (Greatsword), Weapon Specialization (Greatsword)
Challenge Rating: 15
Alignment: Neutral Good

Possessions: "Crash" Greatsword +4 (Thundering); Cloak of Charisma +2; Gloves of Dexterity +2; Half-Plate +3 (Electricity Resistance (Improved)); Mithral Heavy Shield; Outfit (Traveler's); Smoky Quartz; Ring of Protection +3; Star Ruby;

Mount: Ta N'ing

Ta N'ing
Large-size Male Warhorse, Light
Hit Dice: (3d8)+9
Hit Points: 28
Initiative: +1
Speed: Walk 40 ft.
AC: 19 (flatfooted 18, touch 10)
Attacks: *Bite +2;*Hoof +4/+4;
Damage: *Bite 1d3+1;*Hoof 1d4+3;
Vision: Low-light
Face / Reach: 10 ft. / 5 ft.
Special Qualities: Animal Traits, Scent (Ex)
Saves: Fortitude: +6, Reflex: +6, Will: +2
Abilities: Str 16, Dex 12, Con 16, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 6
Skills: Appraise -4; Balance -4; Bluff -2; Climb -2; Concentration 3; Craft (Untrained) -4; Diplomacy -2; Disguise -2; Escape Artist -4; Forgery -4; Gather Information -2; Heal 1; Hide -8; Intimidate -2; Jump 3; Listen 2; Move Silently -4; Ride 1; Search -4; Sense Motive 1; Spot 4; Survival 1; Swim -7;
Feats: Lightning Reflexes, Multiattack
Challenge Rating: 1
Alignment: Neutral Good

Possessions: Barding (Chainmail); Saddlebags; Saddle (Exotic Military);

Friday, March 20, 2009

Bog Maid

Size/Type: Medium Fey Humanoid (Aquatic)
Hit Dice: 7d8+14 (45 hp)
Initiative: +3
Speed: Walk 40 ft. (8 squares), Swim 30 ft. (6 squares)
Armor Class: 19 (+3 Dex, +6 natural), touch 13, flat-footed 16
Base Attack/Grapple: +7/+18
Attack: Claw +13 melee (1d6+5)
Full Attack: 2 claws +11 melee (1d6+5) and rancid bite +6 melee (2d6+1)
Space/Reach: 10 ft./10 ft.
Special Attacks: Improved grab, rake 1d6+7, rancid bite 2d6+1, spell-like abilities
Special Qualities: Damage reduction 2/bludgeoning, darkvision 60 ft., shape change, spell resistance 19, swamp walk
Saves: Fort +6, Ref +8, Will +6
Abilities: Str 21, Dex 16, Con 14, Int 13, Wis 13, Cha 14
Skills: Bluff +6, Diplomacy +4, Disguise +6 (+8 when shape changed), Hide +6, Intimidate +2, Listen +10, Spot +10
Feats: Alertness, Great Fortitude
Environment: Marshes, bogs and swamps
Organization: Solitary or covey (3 maids of various enticing forms)
Challenge Rating: 6
Treasure: Standard
Alignment: Usually chaotic evil
Advancement: By character class
Level Adjustment: —

These sirens of the swamp have been known to lure many an adventurer into brackish waters and bramble patches.


Bog maids usually draw upon their shape change ability to alter its physical form to appear as a beautiful young female elf, half-elf, or other humanoid. Then, they grapple their opponents in what seems a lustful embrace, proceeding to bite into them with their rancid maws.

Rancid Bite (Ex): The rancid bite of a bog maid deals 2d6+1 damage. In addition, a DC 18 Fortitude save is required to avoid 1d4 temporary Con damage.


Shape Change (Ex): Bog maids have the natural ability to change their shape into other humanoid forms, typically choosing a beautiful maiden of a humanoid species.

Swamp Walk (Ex): Because of their innate knowledge of the terrain, bog maids can move at normal speed through swamp, marsh, and bog.

Thanks to Rakehell over at Tailslap for the 4e version of this creature!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Lone Tree

This single tree stands out in the vast stretch of Bale Morrow. It is said that this tree is so affected, that birds will not even land in its branches.

Many a shady deal has gone down in this location, with many an ill consequence. Here is a random encounter table (d100).

1-10: A small party of adventurers huddles around a crude map. If approached with care, they will serve as porters through the Bale Morrow in exchange for being led through.

11-15: A wandering wizard has set up a small camp under the tree, and is busy collecting mosses and fungi for use as spell components. If approached, the party will set off his glyph of warding, and he will turn on them.

16-20: A merchant has wandered off course, and his cart is stuck in the mud. If assisted, he will offer the party a few items.

21-35: A party of gnolls waits in ambush!

36-42: The skull of a humanoid provides the first clue of a deeper mystery, culminating in uncovering a murder.

43-50: The weather turns violent, and the party must seek shelter or risk being struck by lightning.

51-95: Choose a random encounter from an appropriate table.

96-100: A magical item has been left leaning against the tree. There is a 50/50 chance that it is cursed.

Further, if anyone tries to climb the tree, the limbs will emit a low shriek, causing a 20' fear aura (DC 20). Finally, the limbs give off a murky poison (Fortitude save DC 25 or suffer 1d4+2 permanent Con damage).

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Bale Morrow

Part peatland, part bog, part moor, this region lies to the east of the Ten Princedoms, west of the Flordlands, and north of the Central Valley. In Bale Morrow, the sky is eternally overcast, and the ground moist, making camping difficult. Even the most stalwart travelers find the land uncomfortable.

This region is also infamous as the last known location of many an adventurer. It is said a chill wind passes over Bale Morrow at night, catching wanderers in its icy grip and drowning it in the shallow, murky waters that dot the landscape. Indeed, flying Vs, wargoyles, and even wyrmholes patrol the night skies, and wolves, trolls, and giant caterpillars are known to stalk the grounds.

One reason adventures venture into Bale Morrow is for the unique muds, mosses, and foliage. The bogmoss is a natural curative, and can be harvested to make healing salves and tinctures. Morrow mud is a beauty aid, and the various wildflowers and small shrubberies produce flowers and berries that top the reagent lists of many a mage. Even the still water itself is prized, even though it is a low-grade poison if consumed.

It is rumored that there are settlements toward the center of Bale Morrow, but none in the known world has made it both to and from the center of the vast region.

Approaching the vast mix of bog and peat from the west, the last tree before Bale Morrow is known as Lone Tree, and it is avoided by birds and animals of all types. It is as if they can sense the corruption in the land. Poisoned by the waters that have seeped into its roots, Lone Tree has not had leaves upon its branches in years.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Ale Break: Questing for spells

One way to add some meaning (and difficulty) to spell-casting is to require spell casters to learn their spells in-character. Some characters may have a formal tutor, but many others will likely not, especially if they are sorcerers, woodland casters (druids, rangers, less-structured clerics) or rogue casters.

For these characters, there is a great way to make them (and their players) really respect and cherish their spells. Make them quest for them! Here are a few ideas.

* The party learns about an ancient tome containing a story about a historical figure who could disappear and reappear across town almost instantly. They decide to track down the tome, which leads them into a large city or the Plane of Knowledge (giant library, the size of a plane, with all known knowledge within -- see upcoming CCB post) for more information.

* Someone in the party is killed or otherwise rendered incapacitated (due to an expected player unavailability for the next few sessions), and the rest of the party needs to gather the rare reagents to create the ritual environment for a raise dead, remove curse or similar to be successful.

* A young apprentice wants to learn the invisibility spell, but in order for his master to feel that he has learned the spell, she will hide the scroll that must be scribed in a secret location, and the scroll itself is invisible. The apprentice will need to locate the scroll, and this earn the spell, before he will learn the spell. The master might quip, "First you must know what it is like to be on the other side before you are mature enough to wield the spell."

* A high-level spell is spread across multiple scrolls, which have been sent via courier to the princely barons of the land. Only by convincing these royals to hand over their parts of the scroll will the party acquire the spell, which happens to be, for instance, charm monster. This may require the party to perform tasks and take on quests for each of the barons, leading to even more adventure!

More to come in a future post...

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Positive Reviews - Winter 2009

There are a few reviews of our material out there or about to be out there. Here are a few quick links:

We have received multiple positive reviews on rpgnow.

We are mentioned fairly prominently in the upcoming reviews on rpg-resource.org.uk.

Happy reading (and reviewing!)

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Fallon House

This location is inspired by the work of E.A. Poe, though none of it explicitly derives from his work.

This three-story dwelling is characterized by its distinctive lean. Each of the floors melds into the others, with very few staircases. Instead small one-step and two-step passageways pass from floor to floor, leaving all but the most astute dungeoneers disoriented. The corridors within are also oddly-shaped, starting wide and ending narrow. Ornate doors lead to rooms which face the outside in all cardinal directions, and a raised passage leads from the second floor main hallway to a two-story gazebo out back.

Throughout the house, cobwebs fill the corners, and a layer of dust coats the furniture and floors. Small animal footprints gather around the central hearth and lead off in all directions. Bats and giant caterpillars complete the ecosystem, in the broken rafters and under loose floorboards, respectively. Under these floorboards are old catacombs which predate the house itself. These catacombs can be cited as another reason for the lopsidedness of the house.

Outside, the barren trees have long-since grown away from the house, all they can do to distance themselves from the darkness within. A darkness that grows with each passing night. The timbers themselves have rotted from the inside, just like the human denizens of Fallon House.

The Fallons were once skilled translators of ancient texts, counting the most prominent political figures among their clientele. Since those halcyon days, however, the eldest couple in the Fallon household faced marital problems, eventually disintegrating the marriage. This collapse of the foundation of the family had visible physical effects, leaving the house and family lopsided as relationship upon relationship ended. The inhabitants left the house, one broken relationship at a time, until it was left deserted, as it has remained for a few years now.

This location holds many ancient secrets in the moldy tomes still within. It also hosts many creatures, as mentioned above.

Drawing by Ben Dare.

Monday, March 02, 2009

CCB tips picked up by roleplayingtips.com!

One way we try to actively give back to the gaming community is getting our ideas out there in less conventional formats. Johnn Four runs a great little gaming magazine, where he gathers and dispenses tips from game masters the world over. He recently included one of our posts on the use of the written (and spoken) word in role playing campaigns:


Keep sharing ideas, everyone!

Also, check out the rest of his site. It's chock full of good ideas.